In The Pines


tales of rural life

Explorations of rural creativity, rural resilience, and rural genius. 

Tales of Rural Life, Ontario Canada
Tales of Rural Life, Ontario Canada








Passions + values

Entrepreneurship + Innovation


Upon returning to Napanee I found a thriving downtown of independent businesses. I could find little online compared to the vibrancy outside my door. I sought creative and effective ways to support the hard working entrepreneurs that made up my community. 

I began creating collective marketing materials that branded the downtown as a whole. Through print, social media, and video I had quickly worked collaboratively with over 20 downtown businesses. My content has reached thousands of people far beyond our geographic boundaries.

I joined the BIA to bring an impassioned and youthful voice to the institution. I promoted collaboration over competition, building a creative economy, and helping people understand what a 'sense of place' means; to convey downtown is more than the businesses that are housed there - it is the economic and cultural hub of our rural community. I took a 'what would Jane Jacobs do?' approach to discussing development and as such was the sole voice for bike lanes in the reconstruction process. Walkable + bikeable urban areas = increased sense of community, stronger economic development, and healthier and happier people!

I was lucky to gain skills and mentorship through a program called Empowering Young Entrepreneurs (EYE Program) through PELA CFDC. The director at the time and creator of the program told me he wrote that program with me in mind.

A little support and mentorship go a long way.


I was later awarded the Youth Entrepreneurship Award for the Town of Greater Napanee, Lennox and Addington County, and the downtown Napanee BIA. 

Local Food Love


The local food movement is a powerful vehicle for sustainable rural development. Not so long ago there was no regular access to fresh produce in downtown Napanee. Despite being a rural area downtown was a food desert. I began guerilla gardening on public land and mapped it digitally. Thus The Harvest Walk was born, with the intent if creating access to fresh produce but also encouraging outdoor exploration along the waterfront trail. 

When the opportunity came to create another business I planned, designed, and sourced goods for a local grocery store called Heritage Harvest Grocery. The name was chosen to demonstrate that the local food movement was in fact nothing new but a historical tradition.

To me the local food movement hit so many nails on the head for community and economic development. It connects people to place, tradition, cultural knowledge and the cycles of time as one learns to move through seasonal eating. Growing food has numerous physical and mental health benefits and is a great tool to ignite the curiosity of a scientist in children or the inner artist of a chef.

Plus, you get delicious, delicious FOOD.

I believe when we create the structure to allow local growers easy access to market, and customers easy access to local goods - we all win! My greatest joy of creating Heritage Harvest was having farmers stop by unexpectedly with excess produce. I would post it online, and we would sell out! That allowed money to go directly to local farmers while efficiently getting their goods to market, it provided people with the freshest and best tasting produce, and allowed farmers to focus on their passion: growing food. Unfortunately due to domestic violence I had to abandon that project. I still mourn it's loss to my community.

I have since been involved in the Gardens-to-Go community garden project in Napanee that provides free fresh produce to anyone who wants or needs it. 

I believe everyone should have access to healthy and nutritious food. I also see it as a powerful tool to create vibrant, diverse, and more sustainable rural entrepreneurial ecosystems. 

Arts + Culture


When I first returned to Napanee there was little availability to see local art. So after discovering an incredibly talented local artist John Herzog, I turned my home into a pop-up art gallery not only to celebrate local talent but to expose people to art. 

When our town embarked on creating an official arts + culture plan I was the first person interviewed in the consulting process. After 18 months of participating in visioning and planning our municipal Arts and Culture Advisory Committee was officially born. 

People often describe me as "creative" but I've always seen myself more as a serious scientist. Growing up rurally I did not have much access to the 'arts + culture' sector. Though I wrote endlessly, danced often and performed in a variety of production it all just felt like simple fun. It felt like a land of make belief and something very separate from my lived experience. As a child I was equally obsessed with rockets as I was Leonardo Da Vinci and though I pretended in elementary school, as I wrote, that I was Farley Mowat or Emily Dickinson - the connection to art and my identity was something I largely ignored for things I considered more 'serious' like politics and economics. Steve Jobs said "creativity is about making connection." and in that way I will agree.

I now know that a scientist and an artist are not so different and that a holistic approach to the robust development of our human potential involves both. Art and culture is a potentially sustainable economic invigorator. It's also a powerful tool for healing, expression, and mindfulness - all essential if we are to address trauma: the greatest health issue facing society. 


During my time living in Montreal and Toronto I ended up becoming involved in artists collectives, performing in galleries, and working in an art gallery on Queen St W for several years where I was able to curate and host shows independently.



"You know what I like about you Krysta, you're weird but you're not too weird"

- Craig Desjardins, 

Director, Office of Strategy, Innovation & Partnerships, City of Kingston


Hi! I am the heart and mind behind In The Pines Creative. What began as a downtown Napanee centric creation has spread its wings into a regional rural project.

The reason I enjoy the quote above so much is I think it describes me well. To some, I do seem weird. I am not weighed down by historic dogma. I do not mind going against convention if the convention is illogical to me. I approach issues from a different perspective - so being that I am that way I may seem strange to some. However I am not "too weird" because if you give me a moment you will see my thinking is not an act of impulse or pure fantasy, but complex analysis of the data at hand and an ability to see potential outcomes. 

I'm passionate about thinking creatively and looking strategically and critically at community development in a holistic way. 

Making connections, analytically and intuitively interpreting the data of today and anticipating the trends of tomorrow are all things I LOVE! I'm eternally curious and fascinated by human behaviour and human potential. 

I enjoy complex problems, innovative projects, interpreting systems and stretching what people think is possible to create a more creative, diverse, sustainable, and authentically engaged world in my backyard of rural Ontario. 

Follow me on instagram @mywildroots